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Updated: August 29, 2009 15:37 IST

Interest in Tests has not decreased: Srinivasan

S. Dinakar
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BCCI secretary N.Srinivasan feels that Test Cricket still has a good following, especially via television coverage. Photo: R.Ragu
BCCI secretary N.Srinivasan feels that Test Cricket still has a good following, especially via television coverage. Photo: R.Ragu

N. Srinivasan, Secretary, Board of Control for Cricket in India, spoke to The Hindu on a variety of topics in an exclusive interview here on Thursday. Excerpts:

There have been speculations about the future of Test match cricket. Save a few selected series, the crowds have been dwindling.

Some feel even the television audience needs the crowd at the venue for the right atmosphere. I do not believe four-day Test is a solution. Day-night Tests appear more feasible.

People have less time these days and fewer people turn up at the ground. But Test cricket is widely followed on television. The interest in Test cricket has not decreased. Even today, if you have a good contest between two strong and evenly matches sides, the crowds will come.

The recently concluded Ashes was an example?

Why only Ashes? There was a big crowd on the final day of the India-England Test at Chepauk last season. Sachin Tendulkar guided India to a remarkable victory. There were security concerns ahead of the match but people still came.

Tendulkar came up with an interesting suggestion when he said a few stands should be thrown open to school and college students.

This would depend on the individual state associations.

With the Twenty20 format gaining in popularity, there is a view that the ODIs too could be under a threat.

Previously we had only one form of the game. Now, we have three. There has been a huge increase in the overall audience for cricket. In some countries, like Australia and England, Test cricket is still popular. Some other form of the game has an edge in some other country. Cricket, as a whole, has grown. Test cricket will be given its due. T20 is popular but the other forms will survive.

Given Twenty20s popularity, arent we running the risk of youngsters seeking instant fame and money ignoring the fundamentals. Their development could be hurt.

Twenty20 cricket is a new and attractive form in the career path of a young cricketer. However, unless he aspires to feature in the longer version of the game, he may not have the success he seeks in the other forms.

Some senior players could be cutting short their tenure in the more demanding Test cricket to prolong their careers in the more lucrative T20.

I dont think so. Test cricket still stands tall among the players. If they quit Tests, it could be because they are at the end of their careers.

The BCCI has supported the players on the issue of WADAs whereabouts clause.

I cannot comment on other countries but the BCCI saw some merit in what the players were saying. The BCCI is as much against doping as any other country. Our players agreed to be tested during and after the season. The only concern was the whereabouts clause. We have been discussing the issue with the ICC for several months now.

Given the growth of the IPL, do you anticipate a club versus country conflict?

We have made it clear that a players commitment to the Future Tours Programme (FTP) is primary. He is expected to fulfil his obligations to the FTP before he comes to the IPL.

The menace of match and player fixing seems to be raising its head again?

The ICC has taken steps to protect the integrity of the game. No member country wants to see even the faintest trace of anything illegal. The ICCs Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) has been an effective deterrent.

What about the IPL?

From the next season, ICCs ACU team will be present in all IPL games.

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